Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

To Nigel Farage in the wake of Heywood and Middleton: an apology

Nigel Farage – an apology. My suspicion had been that Ukip would not frighten the horses terribly in Heywood and Middleton. It is not great territory for them, after all. Yet they came within a few hundred votes of ousting Labour – a remarkable result, far more indicative than that in Clacton. And a calamitous result for Ed Miliband.

The weekend papers have majored on the problems which Ukip poses for the Tories. But Heywood suggests that the Ukip threat to Labour in the north has been considerably underestimated. It still seems the case that northern Tories will not vote Ukip – but a rather greater proportion of previous Labour voters than I had envisaged will do so.

Heywood and Middleton is in the north-west – not good hunting ground for Ukip. Imagine, then, what they might do in the north and north east? And about time too. I am sick to the back teeth of Labour taking its blue collar northern votes for granted.

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